A promise by ministers to protect traditional TV and radio until 2034 does not go far enough, campaigners have warned. They say millions of people, including older, vulnerable and isolated citizens, will be drastically affected if services are switched off too soon.
The Daily Express and the Broadcast 2040+ coalition, which includes senior citizens’ group Silver Voices, are demanding ministers take action to protect terrestrial television until at least the 2040s.
The Government was forced to set out its plans after a petition demanding a guarantee of access to broadcast TV (Freeview) and aerial radio beyond 2040 was backed by more than 10,000 people. It follows a huge response to the Daily Express Keep Us Tuned In crusade.
In its response, the Government said its legislation to secure continuity of digital terrestrial television until at least 2034 “strikes the right balance between giving certainty to audiences, platform operators and broadcasters on the one hand, while recognising that – in a decade’s time – the broadcasting landscape and quality of digital infrastructure might look very different”.
But Dennis Reed, director of campaign group for the elderly Silver Voices, said the government must protect the services for longer.
He said: “Our petition is giving a voice to the millions of people who would be impacted by losing Freeview and radio – many of them isolated, vulnerable and dependant on the connection this form of entertainment can bring.
“While the Government’s response is progress, we are still waiting for a direct commitment beyond 2040.
“We urge as many people as possible to sign the petition so we can put more pressure on the Government.”
There are concerns that online streamers like Netflix, Amazon Prime, NOW and Disney+ could eventually force out terrestrial TV.
- Find the online petition at: petition.parliament.uk
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